State Power Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay on Friday said all necessary steps have been taken to ensure uninterrupted power supply during the upcoming festive season.
“We have had a meeting with representatives of different power production and distribution agencies such as the power grid, CESC, NTPC and DVC. The forthcoming festive season which continues practically till Christmas would see a hike in demand for power, and we have tried to ensure that there is no interruption in supply,” Chattopadhyay said at a press conference, adding that the state would take up several campaigns to prevent power pilferage. He said that on certain days during the pujas, demand is expected to rise up to 8,000 megawatt (MW).
“While the state and central government agencies will provide 6,400 MW, CESC will produce 1,900 MW. So the sum will be more than the anticipated demand. We have also made arrangements in case there is a further rise than what has been anticipated. Coal India, BCCL and ECL have assured that there will be no shortage of coal supply,” Chattopadhyay added.
Inaugurating a revamped website of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL), the minister urged clubs and other organisations not to resort to pilfered power.
“We will have no option but to take the help of police and snap the illegal connection, which will be a disturbance to the festivities, and might create a problem. To avoid that, we request all who need power to apply for the same,” he said, adding that although no separate figure of pilfered power was available, the Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) loss amounted to 30 per cent. The ministry aims to bring down the distribution loss which is about 27 per cent, to 21 per cent by the year 2022, according to him.
Chattopadhyay also said that a district electricity committee had been formed in all districts, headed by the respective district magistrates, and that more involvement of public representatives was required to help curb power theft.
“People who have voted for you will listen to you if you tell them to refrain from hooking. We will also put up posters and hoardings to create awareness that a connection can be taken for as less as Rs 379, so there is no point in using pilfered power,” he said. The minister added that despite pressure from regulators, the state government is not keen on raising the power tariff further. The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited had raised its average tariff by 23 paise last month.